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Allegro Papagayo
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A TripAdvisor Member
Lexington, KY
148
Reviewed 6 November 2005

OK, as of posting this, I have read every single post here and have compiled a list of useful/helpful tips from others and things I have found helpful.

But first a few things…

Our Canadian friends to the north have pointed out the ‘rudeness’ of Americans while visiting abroad. I have toured all across Europe, been thru the heartland of Mexico, and several trips to the Caribbean and in each place I have encountered rude tourist. Unfortunately, it seems most have been Americans, but I have also noticed rude Canadians as well. So the Canadians bashing the Americans here can get off of their high horse. Everyone needs to remember that while traveling they represent their homeland. While traveling remember that these places are not the US and nor do they want to be. Try learning at least 10 words in the native tongue to which you are traveling (two of which should be ‘thank you’ and ‘please’). The people serving you at these resorts speak your language, at least try to return the favor. If they don’t understand what you are saying, talking more loudly or yelling it does not make anyone understand any better and in fact is just plain rude.
As for me and the group I was with, we all thoroughly enjoyed our stay at the Allegro Papagayo. 95% of the staff there I thought was incredible. Although this is an ‘all inclusive’ the staff here are not your personal servants. What you may not realize is that they work six 15 hour days, and even at the end of their shift are still wonderfully upbeat. Some at this site have complained about the service, yet we had no problem. It was nothing to leave a few dollars in tip for the great guys at the bar, after that they would bring us drinks all night and even have one ready once they saw me the next day. Even something as simple as returning them a kind smile will take you far.
Everything outside of the states is a little more slow, a little more relaxed. So slow down, sit back and relax…remember, it’s a vacation.

With that done…
The five of us traveling are ‘shoe string’ travelers and tend to do a lot of research to get the most bang for the buck. We did thou rent a car for the week. September is still part of the rainy season and all the hurricanes didn’t help the situation. We drove to Santa Rosa Nat’l Park, which with all of the rain couldn’t make it all the way to the beautiful beaches due to the flooded rivers that needed to be crossed. We also drove to Arenal volcano. This drive is not for the faint at heart, they are very rough roads. We did not, but I recommend staying the night and enjoying the view of volcano from Tabacon hot springs at night. On the way to the volcano, you will notice some really neat windmills on a hilltop near Lake Arenal. There is an entrance to go up to the windmills but the road splits and splits again and again with no signs and it’s a little sketchy as well, would not advise. We also drove to Coco for shopping and experience some of the other towns. The Allegro is great, but there is so much more to see. Also, I love to snorkel, but all of the run off this time of year makes the water a bit murky.

Ok, this is what I have collected from all of the reviews and took with us… Feel free to email if you have any questions.
So…copy…paste…print. I’ve done the work for you… Pura Vida!

Hotel:

•At check-in, they may ask for a credit card. (This is fairly common in South American hotels, car rentals, etc. So don’t be surprised)
•Thursdays the local merchants set up stands in Pablo's Bar to sell all the wooden stuff and jewelry etc. The prices are good and the wood products are really nice. 1/2 the price of the gift shop at the resort.
•By Building 15 there is a trail, saw and heard a large group of Howlers.
•Saw NO mosquitoes for the entire week, but late at night no-see-ums would bite at your ankles…keep that Skin So Soft handy.
•Kayaking and snorkeling free from beach – some mentioned a $5 insurance fee

Bars/beverages:
•Frozen drinks are very good and very sweet. (but not a lot of alcohol in them)
•All the bars except for the disco close at 11pm.
•The pool side bar closes promptly at 5:00 P.M.
•Bottled water stations are located all over the compound (bring a water bottle)
•Coffee makers are in the rooms (but likely no coffee)

Rooms:
•The buildings with the guest rooms are numbered from 1 to 15 (the higher the number is, the closer you are to the beach, swimming pool, buffet, bars and entertainment area)
•Better to try and reserve a room on the pool level
•Try for building 10, 11, or 15 which are good as you don't have to take the shuttle up to your room and are the closest to the pool, buffet, and beach.
•If you want a view, you MUST be on the 3rd floor.

Dining:
•You have to book dining up in the hotel lobby the day before, best to make both reservations as soon as you get there.
•Bars don't open till 10 but vodka available at buffet for Bloody Mary’s or screw drivers
•not happen while we were there) Sunday: seafood night. Feast and I do mean FEAST!!! Lobster and jumbo prawns - FRESH!! You can ask the chef to grill you some prawns or small lobster even though they serve it all together on a huge pan.
•(not happen while we were there) Thursday: Paella - full of shrimp, lobster and lots of other fish

Beach club:
•For those of you who need a white sand beach the hotel offers you a 10 minute boat ride to the “beach club”
•You must book this one day in advance (at the activity center ‘Water Sports’ desk) Since reservations are not accepted on Monday’s, there are no trips to the beach on Tuesday. My advice try and book at least 2 days in hopes that in case 1 is cancelled. Possible it can be booked in the morning around 8 to 830 am and when the door opens at 8 there is a line up.
•You are allowed to stay there from 9-1 or 11-3 and only 38 people at a time.
•You must make a reservation early or walk up to the top of hill and take the free public bus to the beach. The resort doesn't tell you this, but all beaches in C.R. are public beaches and the transportation will take you there.
•Food and drinks and washrooms and hammocks are there at the ‘beach club’.
•The snorkeling is excellent along the rocks at either ends of the beach, and the fish communities quite different at high and low tide.
•If you enjoy sea kayaking and setting out on your own, there is a smaller more secluded and otherwise identical beach, just a 15 minute paddle away in the same direction as the Beach Club. The resort’s double-sea kayaks have considerable volume and they track very well even with cockpits full of water, which occurs when returning from the beach to the resort facing westerly winds and waves

Things to buy:
•Coco beach is cheapest, girlfriend had a blast here. Several small markets and one large one.
•Beer, coffee, and Rum at supermarkets. Bring back as much coffee as you can carry.
•Britt coffee is what they suggest to tourist however the locals all drink 1820 or Sunburst.
•They do sell calling cards in the hotel lobby gift shop. We bought a $10.00 card and had 26 minutes. This is the cheapest way to call home. Don’t get a card in the States.

Things to take:
•Normal lock for the in-room lockers will not work, take locks for baggage and take a lock for tour lockers.
•Extra pairs of sunglasses.
•Lots of sun block
•Lots of after sun lotion
•Off bug spray or equivalent: The resort is surrounding by jungle and many no see-ems (bugs) but they leave a deadly welt and very itchy. The key time frame is close to 4pm just as the sun starts to set the bugs come alive. Always lather up.
•Take After bite lotion and antihistamine
•Drink holders/cozies (didn’t really need these)
•30 in 1 dollar bills for tips
•Do bring your own face towels (many people stated they did not have, we however did)
•No alarm clocks in the room
•Take a big (insulated if you want) water jug. We always do and get one filled with beer or favorite drink and the other with water.
•take aqua or beach shoes as the sand is hard and rough on your feet: the beach is rough (not raked or cleaned up so very natural and many thorns which really hurt)


Places: (from hotel down coast)

Playa Ocotal:
Snorkeling

Playa Pan de Azucar:
Snorkeling and deserted

Playa flamingo:
White beaches

Coco:

Getting there:
•Offered through the hotel for 25.00 US per person by boat left around 1030-1100 returned around 1400. We missed the 1030 departure. Went up to the Hotel lobby asked how much it would cost by taxi it ended up costing us a lot less 10.00 each !!
•Swiss Travel Services for the shopping trip to Liberia. The cost is $17/person and they take you by bus to two tourist traps and in to town
•Coco beach excellent shopping place - tons cheaper than other areas and internet only 50 Colones (maybe 10 cents American) (or 500 Colones, can't remember) for half an hour compared to $6 US per half hour at resort. Resort internet slow and malfunctions most of the time. Coco beach fast computer like here at work. Papagayo Seafood Restaurant at Coco Beach is a definite must experience place....the most incredible food.
•It is so cool, and so cheap!! We bought tons of stuff for very little money.
•Remember to barter they are tuff but be persistent and I would recommend changing money to colons.
•Beach not good for swimming


Tamarindo:
•Absolutely awesome white beach with barely 10 people on it! Beach bars, swimming, surf board rentals, nightlife etc

•People have had items stolen from cars. Keep things out of site.

Playa Portrero:
Beautiful beach with an island you can swim to


Misc places:
Drove to the volcano and spent a day at the Tabaccon resort (which was mislabeled on our map, it’s just past Arenal on the main road past the volcano entrance) which had awesome mineral pools - all varying in temperatures from quite cool to very hot. – Great food
Arenal volcano – 3 ½ hrs each way and very rough roads

Liberia
Bullfighting (may want to verify times, bull fights rotate towns) - $7 (they don’t kill it, Mexico and Spain only that do)

Tours:
After reading many reviews, we choose (Ricardo) Vargas Tours. (Ricardo Costa Rica tours dot com) :) Much smaller groups than others I have read about (actually for the Mega Tour it was just the members of our group). Ricardo and his wife (who will book your trip) both speak impeccable English. On the way to the Mega-tour Ricardo did not hesitate to answer any question and was very insightful in explaining details of his country. He was there for us and took his time on the way and back looking for wildlife and stopping when he spotted anything (he actually pulled over to let other tours pass us who just zipped on by). He offered to take photos of us on the zip line and waterslide and even found a sloth’s location from the local workers while we were at the hot springs and pointed it out to us on the way back. They offer many tours and in hindsight would have choose him for the volcano trip. Vargas Tours 10/10. First class, First rate. I would highly recommend him and use them again.

  • Stayed: October 2005
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
48  Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 November 2005

My husband and I have been to many all inclusive resorts in Mexico, the Dominican, Antigua, Venezuala, etc. We enjoyed this resort as everyone was very nice and friendly. It seemed like they were always smiling. The pool was beautiful. We had a room in bldg 10 which overlooked the pool and was very convenient. It is a hilly resort but most are in Costa Rica. I have a handicap and it is hard for me to walk the hills. However, there is a shuttle every 5 or 10 minutes so no need to worry. There were quite a few stairs to get to the pool/dinner, however it was not bad.

The resort is isolated but we enjoyed that. There are many excursions plus you can rent a car. We did the tour to Buena Vista (we defintely recommend)and a 2 hour horse backing riding tour on a ranch named Los Insaladas (spelling). This is where were saw many monkeys, a sloth and toucans! It was wonderful.

The food is average but there was always something to eat. If you are a food snob, then this place is not for you.

A.P. is a nice resort for the dollar. Stay here for the reasonable price so you can spend more on excursions. You will love Costa Rica!

  • Stayed: October 2005
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
10  Thank Myatt
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 20 October 2005

We spent 3 nights here 10/16-10/19/05. We attempted to check in at 12:30pm big no no. They checked us in but made us come back at 3pm for the key card. No safe lock was available and we were instructed to come back tommorrow $1.00 day. At three PM chcked in grounds at beautiful. Room superior oceanview clean but shower nhead needed repair. The bellboys here are great you need them for transport since all the property is on steep hills. Maid service very good. Food like a cheap buffet. Food was perty much the same each day. Never was able to do the Italian it was full the first night and closed the next two. The snack bar is a real joke french fries hot dogs and hambergers daily. The cook the hamberger paties in the fry basket. Very little choice restraunt hours are incoventient only were able to do lunch one out of three days. The snack bar closes at 3:00 and dinner doesnt open till 6:30 pm a long time to wait if you have just missed lunch because your tour got back late this happened twice. Tours booked at the pool are grest Charlies Adventures. We took a Dolphin Watch Bay Tour lasted 4 1/2 hours stopped to swim saw tons of dolphins and turtles also allowed to swim for a half hour cost $10.00 on special normally $20.00. We took the same tip tour in Quempos and it was $70:00 and saw nothing. They also do a ATV tour that is a blast wear sandals. It last about 3 1/2 hours and was the best ATV tour ever. We stossed rivers at least 25 times drove up and down rivers and saw howler monkey's. I beleive it was $70.00 each. Charlie's adventures is the only reason I would consider returning here. You can find better, cheaper hotels and food than here. This place is too isolated cabs cost $12.00 to airport and $20.00 to town.

  • Stayed: October 2005
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
27  Thank colorado6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
A TripAdvisor Member
Lake Mary, FL
124
Reviewed 12 October 2005

Most of my travel destinations have included all inclusive resorts. I feel they are convenient, and pose the least restrictions. Every one has been a treat, until we stayed at the Occidental Allegro Papagayo.

The property is well positioned overlooking the bay and surrounding area. It is about 40 minutes away from the airport and 45 from great shopping in Liberia. The grounds are well kept and so are the buildings. Transportation around the property was needed as the roads and walkways are steep, but they ran on a good schedule. This area is not suitable for anyone physically challenged. Like everyone we meet in Costa Rica, the hotel Staff, in most areas, were exceptionally kind, pleasant, and courteous.

The rooms appeared to have identical faults; leaking A/C, loud fans that could not be adjusted, and hard (Not firm), low budget beds. All that would have been overlooked except for the food and beverage service.

All except one in our group say the food is the worst thye have ever tasted.

A report was made to the hotel, but operations manager Arturo Soto thought there was nothing to complain about. Maybe he likes par-boiled rice, uncooked beans, green, uncooked chicken, leftover seafood medley. Maybe he like food combinations obviously made from the previous days menu. Maybe he and the people he said gave geart reviews, like soup that tasts like dish cloths were washed in it. There is much, much more, but I expect you get the picture.

The beverages were made from bottom-shelf stock and there were few alternatives. Guests can't run out to shop. The property is located some distance from outside shopping.

I did not expect such poor quality, nor did the other members of our group of 40. Mr. Soto is way out of touch with good food and beverages.

Costa Rica as great treats elsewhere, but not at Occidental Allegro Papagayo.

  • Stayed: October 2005, travelled on business
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
24  Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 26 September 2005

We had a great time. We checked out 9/17/2005. The staff is absoultley wonderful! The food was awesome. Service fantastic. Check in was very quick. Everyone is very nice!
Tips: If you need something just ask. (don't complain ) We wanted a king bed, hey we got it with fruit & wine to boot!
If you want it, ask for the safe key, it isn't offered.
Learn a little spanish the staff speaks english well but since you are in their country have a little fun & try to learn, the staff will be glad to help you.
There is plenty of food & a great swim up bar at the pool between certain hours. There is also alot of great entertainment
Yes there are alot of hills but what a great work out!!! The shuttle runs every 10 minutes so no worries there if you want the shuttle.
Yes the sand is black, soft squishy!! A great place to find all the seashell you desire.
The Roads are as bad as you read about!
We used Swiss tours for our tours. Wonderful! These people knew everything about Costa Rica and made our tours very enjoyable.
You must do a Canpoy tour, Arenal volcano,& Tabicon hot springs.
Also try to do a sunset cruise or sail you wont regret it. If there is something you wish to do that takes a certain number of people and you don't have enough, the Swiss tour Co. will call the other hotels to try to work it out for you. (Thanks Ronald) And be sure to ask the other guests what they are doing, we met so many great people to do things with while we were there. (Hey Dave, did you get to BK?)hahahaha!!

  • Stayed: September 2005
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
18  Thank MissLilly2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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